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27. May 2022, 5 min read

Estonia’s new stars: The Michelin Guide’s 2022 selection unveiled!

Author: Birgitte Brøndum
A Michelin chef arranging a selection of mushrooms. Slices of tree trunks with bark on them are used as plates.
A Michelin chef arranging a selection of mushrooms. Slices of tree trunks with bark on them are used as plates.

The famous Michelin Guide has finally made its way to Estonia! This sparkling new guide includes 2 Michelin Stars, 2 Michelin Green Stars and 5 Bib Gourmands.

On May 25, the Michelin Guide revealed its selection of Estonian restaurants. Being mentioned in the Michelin Guide, with or without stars, is a big deal for restaurants. A total of 31 amazing restaurants are mentioned in the 2022 guide.

However, this isn’t only great news for the restaurants. The entire Estonian tourism industry is also applauding the arrival of the Michelin guide.

Estonia – lush forests, rich history and a vibrant culinary scene

Estonia is a beating green heart in the Baltic region. More than half of its land is covered by lush forests full of wildlife. Brown bears, wolves, rabbits, foxes, lynxes and other forest-dwelling animals have their homes among the trees in the Estonian forests.

The country’s UNESCO world heritage capital Tallinn, dating back to the 13th century, is one of Northern Europe’s most well-preserved medieval cities.  

Even though Estonia is bigger than both Denmark and Holland, it has a small population of only 1.3 million people.

As a result, the vibrant Estonian culinary scene has been shaped by a strong bond with nature, broad gastronomic diversity and a proud cultural heritage.

New things are happening all the time in Estonian gastronomy. Above all, because talented chefs from every part of Estonia carry the country’s food culture and traditions forward. They do this by letting ideas unfold freely and by using fresh, local ingredients in new ways.

Estonia welcomes the Michelin Guide: A turning point for the local gastronomy scene

Estonia is an emerging culinary gem on Europe’s food map. Its wide array of local delicacies have deep-rooted traditions and global travellers have begun to savour these flavours.

While Estonian cuisine’s delicious nature is no longer a secret, the arrival of the Michelin Guide marks a significant milestone for the country’s restaurant industry.

Killu Maidla, CEO of the Estonian Hotel and Restaurant Association, enthusiastically welcomes the Michelin Guide’s advent in Estonia.

Killu’s joy resonates particularly because the renowned guide encompasses the entire nation and not merely its capital, Tallinn.

“I’m really excited to see this as a new motivation for the whole gastronomy industry who has been through difficult times,” Killu Maidla expresses.

She articulates that tourists journeying to Estonia have consistently been pleasantly surprised by the high standard and variety of the country’s culinary offerings.

“With the Michelin Guide arriving, we hope more people will start travelling to Estonia. People who want to discover new destinations with gastronomic experiences alongside beautiful landscapes, tourist sights, and museums,” shares Killu.

Decoding Michelin Ratings: What do they really mean?

Since its inception in 1904, the esteemed Michelin Guide has bestowed its coveted stars on restaurants spanning over 35 countries. Each year, it unveils new guides spotlighting the crème de la crème of the world’s dining scene.

Restaurants featured in the guide have the potential to earn between one to three Michelin Stars. Here’s what each star signifies:

But not everything in the Michelin guide revolves around the stars. Restaurants that don’t clinch a star can still earn recognition in one of these two categories:

Bib Gourmand: This category applauds restaurants offering delectable food at a reasonable price. You can expect to find hearty, homely meals that will leave you feeling satisfied without burdening your wallet.

Michelin Green Star: This category acknowledges restaurants demonstrating a commitment to sustainable practices. This could involve reducing waste, partnering with sustainable suppliers, and minimizing plastic usage in their supply chain.

The Michelin-recommended restaurants

Even without a star or a specific category placement, restaurants can gain Michelin’s endorsement. This recommendation means the restaurant boasts outstanding chefs who prepare delectable dishes using top-tier ingredients. In essence, these restaurants offer such stellar dining experiences that they secure a place in the esteemed Michelin Guide.

Michelin star

Here are the restaurants in Estonia’s first Michelin Guide!

Two restaurants were each awarded the highly regarded Michelin Star.

180° by Matthias Diether and NOA Chef’s Hall were the very first Estonian restaurants to receive these precious gastronomy stars – a recognition of their fantastic cuisine!

Estonia’s Sparkling Michelin Stars: A culinary tour of 180° by Matthias Diether and NOA Chef’s Hall

Nestled a few miles from the heart of Tallinn in a sleek modern harbour, you’ll find 180° by Matthias Diether. This chic, yet casual restaurant captivates visitors with its unique U-shaped open kitchen.

Here in the futuristic bar, guests can unwind with a drink before embarking on a culinary journey through the restaurant’s meticulously crafted tasting menus. Each dish, bursting with carefully balanced flavours and textures, reflects the sharp attention to detail that the kitchen team pours into its creation.

Moving along the Tallinn skyline, NOA Chef’s Hall emerges as another gem in Estonia’s restaurant scene. This sophisticated dining venue shares its space with the larger NOA restaurant, treating guests to breathtaking views of Tallinn’s skyline and the serene Gulf of Finland.

The chefs at NOA Chef’s Hall prepare 7-course menus in an open kitchen, offering an immersive dining experience. The tantalizing spectacle of chefs taming flames and smoke over an open fire adds a dramatic touch. The result? Unique, flavour-packed dishes layered with intricate tastes that leave guests eager for the next bite. The open-kitchen concept turns dining into a multi-sensory event, adding an extra dimension to every gastronomic adventure.

The Bib Gourmands

The Michelin Green Stars

Restaurants recommended in the Michelin Guide’s main selection